Some people may be wondering why do some criminal lawyers represent such horrible people who commit heinous crimes? However, I do agree with what Rafferty’s lawyer had stated the article in the globe and mail today entitled ““After defending a child killer, Rafferty’s lawyer opens up.”
In the article, Mr. D. Derstine opens up about what it means to represent someone like Rafferty. In summary, it is about protecting individual rights–rights that are guaranteed by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms which many Canadians today forget about because they think or assume they will never need to defend those rights and freedoms–and the criminal justice system.
It was refreshing to read about how and why the evidence on Rafferty’s laptop was excluded from the trial: it had been obtained improperly by the police (without a proper search warrant). One of the rights guaranteed under the Charter is a right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure. This has not been mentioned in any other articles written by the media. What has been mentioned is what the contents of the laptop were. That’s it.
Specifically, section 8 of the legal rights section of this states,
“Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure”
Simple enough, right? Not really. There have been many cases that have defined what it means for a search or seizure to be unreasonable. In layman terms, however, it may mean that police do not have the right to search or seize your property without first having probable cause or a search warrant. And you know what, the police probably did have good reason to search Rafferty’s laptop but they don’t have a right to go and do it without following the rules (rules that should be followed by police–not rules that should be only followed sometimes and sometimes not).
Police should and must be held to a higher standard within Canada. Special exceptions should not be made for certain people and certain crimes.
Am I agreeing with what Rafferty did? Not in anyway shape or form. However, I am agreeing with what his lawyer said. If we did not these types of lawyers fighting for individual rights and protecting the validity of the criminal justice system, then we might as well be living in a police state.
Oh wait, we already are 😉 Thanks Harper!
For full text on individual legal rights within the Charter of Rights and Freedom, click HERE. Know your rights people–whether you think you will never need them or not… it is always good to know what is available to you as a Canadian and what is available to other Canadians.
Note: This is a commentary blog not a legal advice blog. Please do not follow this blog post as legal advice in any way shape or form.